" Thou comest to me with a sword and a spear and a shield, but I come to thee in the name of the L-rd of Hosts, the G-d of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast humiliated..." (I Samuel, 17:45-47)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Next Year in Uman? - That's Nah Nah Nuts!

Every year as Rosh Hashanah draws near, a peculiar thing happens in Israel. (Not just Israel, but for obvious reasons we will focus on Israel.) Thousands of Breslover Chasidim leave their families for the chag (festival) (an estimated 14,000 this year!) as they travel to the town of Uman in rural Ukraine, to spend Rosh Hashanah with their dead Rebbe. Maybe it's the mitnagid in me that doesn't understand what drives them, but what the hell is wrong with these people? They leave their families and the Holy Land on Rosh Hashanah, so that they can pray to their dead Rebbe on the blood-soaked soil of Europe? Putting aside the obvious halachic problem of leaving Israel for the moment, the more troubling issue is the skewed ideology that compels them to undertake such a warped and spiritually dangerous pilgrimage.

A frightening numbers of these Jews will tell you that prior to his death, Rav Nachman told his students that he would answer the prayers of those who came to pray at his grave. Usually, as they explain this to you, a creepy smile will form on their faces. "It's all in Rav Nachman's hands", they say. This is avodah zarah (idol worship) in it's ugliest form. I don't know about you, but for me, Rosh Hashanah was always a time to pray to the G-d of Israel.

Who knows what Rav Nachman really said? I would venture to say that he said nothing of the sort. The Ukrainian goyim that rent out their haylofts to Jews for exorbitant sums, probably get such a kick out of the absurdity of it all. Imagine sleeping next to the same pitchfork that some mamzer's great-grandfather rammed into your great-great-uncle's skull!

There are many that will say that I'm picking a fight with good Jews. Let me make one thing clear. It is precisely love for them that compels me to rebuke them, as they encroach into the territory of heresy and(Heaven Forbid!)idol worship. The Breslover cult steals untold numbers of creative, energetic, young Jews, who could contribute so much to Judaism. We dare not sit idly by. We need to match their insidious propaganda with authentic Judaism, the Judaism of David Hamelech and the Prophets. We should encourage them to close the Likutei Maharan, if only for a moment, and open up the Mishneh Torah. Then they should read the sifrei kodesh of Rav Kahane, H"YD. And then a beautiful thing will start to happen. They will discover a clarity they have never known before, as authentic deot brimming with true "passion" start to flower.

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